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When we last checked on The Volvo Ocean Race, the 15-ton, 70-foot-long boats were safely in Abu Dhabi — after hopping a stealth freighter to avoid pirates in the Indian Ocean. Leg 3 begins with the usual in-port race in Abu Dhabi, home of the boat in second-to-last place, and continues to Sanya, China, home of the boat in last place.

Enjoy the last six weeks of winter with these select Hollywood pairings

Everything old is new again. In a world that has come to appreciate recycling as a life essential, is it any wonder that the film industry has adopted the reduce, recycle, reuse philosophy?     Sometimes the story needs an update, a modern lens. Other times, a movie made so much money originally that there may be more cash to come. Then again, some studios would rather remake a foreign film than chance subtitles at the box office.

Sneade’s donation adds $2,000 to Calvert Hospice’s Festival of Trees

Woodchips and memories will soon be all that’s left of this year’s Christmas trees hauled curbside in Anne Arundel or to Calvert’s convenience centers for recycling. Not so for the 64 trees in Calvert Hospice’s 23rd annual Festival of Trees. Decorated and sponsored throughout Calvert, the trees annually add about $100,000 to Hospice coffers.

Hot-blooded Marylanders hoping for icy reception

The frostbite swimming season began January 1 with barely an icicle.     At 43 degrees, Chesapeake waters were cold. That was the common report from plungers at North Beach’s New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim.     “It was so cold I could only go up to my waist,” reported Lizzie Woolsey, newly of Huntingtown. “Brian stayed in 10 minutes,” she said of her soldier husband. Six-year-old Mayhem James waded in up to his knees.

Finding — and giving — refuge from the storm

The deaf cat, a skinny princess getting on, could not hear her own purrs, nor our learned conversations above her head, at a festive gathering in a lovely house on St. Leonard’s Creek beyond Jefferson Patterson Park.

Bay Weekly’s pick of 2012 wall calendars

In the language of old movies, falling calendar pages symbolized the passing of time. Years could go by in seconds, just as 2011 surely has done. Now December is about to top the pile of the last 11 months. So it’s time to choose a new calendar.     Most of us still do that, you know. Or have a calendar chosen for us, as calendars rank high in holiday gifts exchanged among acquaintances.

Volunteers take flight each year so that isolated Tangier Island has a green Christmas

The miracle of flight has long been Santa’s secret to guaranteed overnight delivery, but sometimes the reindeer need a break. During the pre-Christmas rush they’re in demand everywhere, including some pretty remote locales. So how does the big guy make a day trip to a place like Tangier Island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, a place where even the closest landlubbers depend on ferries to make the 12-mile crossing?

Make the first gift to yourself by savoring the Season’s Bounty as you shop.

If you’re one of those people who love to shop, you can stop reading now and go wrap some presents.         But if it takes eight crazed reindeer to drag you to the store during the holidays, this story is for you.     You’ve seen the news, read the paper. You’re thinking OMG. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Waiting overnight in ridiculously long lines. Mad dashes for sale merchandise. Customers crushed and pepper sprayed. All while shopping? Yikes!

Five heart-warming ways to expand your giving circle

“The need in the world is so great that we cannot reach everyone by doing just our part. We must expand our reach exponentially so more and more lives can be touched,” says Steve Anstett of Severna Park, executive director of Giving Back, Linda’s Legacy.     From Thanksgiving to Chanukah and Christmas, we live in the season of giving.

Carolyn Surrick’s 125 lunch hours at Walter Reed made music into poetry

    He ends up here     For surgery     Or therapy, or prosthetics     And time goes really slowly.     Again.     –Day One (last stanza) Until Walter Reed Army Medical Center ended its 102-year mission on August 27, it was one sure place to measure the long shadow cast from September 11, 2011.